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Use Conditional Formatting to identify cells that are of interest

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Learn how to use Conditional Formatting to identify cells that are of interest.

For example, you can apply a Conditional Format that checks to see a cell’s value is greater than $500. If it is the Conditional Format can change the Fill colour of the cell. Therefore making it really easy for you (and others using the file) to quickly identify any cell with a value greater than $500. 

Applying Conditional formatting

Excel can apply a different font, style, pattern and border to cells with content that fall outside or within the limits you specify.

This lets you quickly spot areas of interest or concern.

If a cell contains a formula, the value of the formula will be calculated, and the conditional formatting then tested against that value.

Setting a condition with Highlight Cell Rules

The Highlight Cells Rules option displays seven pre-set criteria that can be applied to a cell or group of cells.

To apply one of the pre-set Rules:

1. Select the cell, or group of cells, for which you want to apply conditional formatting.

2. From the Home tab, in the Styles group click on Conditional Formatting. A drop down menu is displayed. Select Highlight Cell Rules from the menu.

3. Select a condition from the drop-down menu, or select More Rules to create a new condition.

4. In the dialog box enter the condition to be matched. If the condition depends on the value of another cell, you can select the cell by clicking on it. In the example below the format will only be applied to cells containing a value “Greater Than” 500.

Excel Conditional Formatting

5. From the option box on the right select the format to be applied if the condition is met. There are a range of pre-set formats to use, or you can create your own by selecting Custom Format from the drop-down list.

6. Click OK. If you require another condition click Conditional Formatting again and create another rule.


Identifying duplicate or unique rows of data

To identify rows with duplicate or unique data:

1. From the Conditional Formatting menu select Highlight Cell Rules and then select Duplicate Values.

2. From the Duplicate Values dialog box select if you would like Duplicate or Unique values formatted. Click OK.

Excel Conditional Formatting


Sharyn is an expert trainer.  She became the first certified Microsoft® MOUS Authorised Instructor in New Zealand.

She is endorsed by Microsoft® as a qualified Microsoft® Office Specialist and has more than 20 years of experience in the training industry, developing and delivering technology training workshops. Her approach to taking the “techie-speak” out of technology training has placed her as a preferred supplier to many of New Zealand’s leading organisations.

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